[NOTE: IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT EACH FASHION TRIBE, START HERE]
From vintage 50s embroidered Japanese bomber jackets to antique and one-of-a-kind fabrics sourced both high (London antique dealers) and less-so (New York garage sales), Maison Martin Margiela's Artisinal initiative upcycled a cache of fabric ends, samples of embroidery and other non-grandiose "detritus" of the couture into a 22-look collection for Fall 2014 deemed "a collective memory of Haute Couture."
The Margiela clan's DIY love of taking things like bags of bottle tops and transforming them into a shimmery skirt, collaging cashmere swatches into a caftan, unearthing a stash flea-market coins and morphing them into gypsy-worth attire all seems to have worn out its crafty welcome a tad with Style.com's Tim Blanks. He observed that the collection "felt a little thin," adding that "it may be simply that the novelty has worn off." He also felt that the components of Fall 2014 were more arbitrary than seasons past and therefore less enthralling.
While this collection used many of the same fabric & garment finds as Spring 2014, and I found it more coherent this season, more elegant even. More welcoming - but without giving up the ghost of any artsy street cred.
I'm particularly enamored with the skilled way the Margiela designers are able to showcase the best of the "maker" aesthetic, demonstrating so aptly how much fashion gold can be extracted in making-over garments and found fabrics as opposed to automatically relying on new fabrics - and the resources that are spent (and squandered) to grow the crops, process them and weave them into fabrics for clothing that will be deemed "out" within six months.
By retooling our sartorial past, Margiela is following a stylish path toward a more sustainable future.
This upscaling-minded, crafty, DIY'ish vibe is what makes this collection by Margiela particularly suited for the Folkspun fashion tribe of earth-minded, eco-aware fashionistas who like to remember. Which Tim Blanks also remarked upon. "It's like wearing history," he observed about this collection, "which is, in a way, what Artisanal is all about. But it comes with a condition: You have to impose your history on the history of the materials."
- Lesley Scott